A nonprofit organization that investigates sexual misconduct for the U.S. Olympic Committee has been looking into allegations that University of Hawaii men's volleyball coach Charlie Wade engaged in sexual misconduct with a former female player.
The University of Hawaii said Thursday it takes allegations of misconduct seriously and is reviewing the matter. A statement from the school said Wade strongly denies any misconduct. The incident is alleged to have happened about 30 years ago in California when Wade was coaching a club volleyball team, the university said.
The Orange County Register reported the nonprofit — the U.S. Center for SafeSport — suspended Wade in September pending the investigation's outcome. The newspaper cited documents from the organization and from USA Volleyball, the national governing body for U.S. volleyball.
People suspended by SafeSport can continue to coach college teams since NCAA events don't fall under the authority of the nonprofit, the Olympic Committee or USA Volleyball. USA Volleyball became aware in Feburary 2018 of allegations regarding Wade and possible misconduct involving a female player who played for him at the club and college level, according to SafeSport and USA Volleyball documents.
Wade was an assistant coach for the Hawaii women's program from 1995 to 1997 and head coach at Pacific from 2006 to 2008. Earlier he was the head coach at Magnum Volleyball Club in Anaheim.
The SafeSport investigation may overshadow the NCAA tournament, which opens this week, and the possibility of a national championship match clash on May 4 between Hawaii and Long Beach State. The University of Hawaii said Wade has always handled himself with the highest level of professionalism during his years as the school's assistant women's volleyball coach and as the men's coach.
Wade cooperated with the SafeSport investigation as soon as he was notified in September 2018, the university said. He has not been interviewed and has not heard from SafeSport since. His attorney formally requested multiple times, as recently as April 4, that SafeSport provide an update to the investigation but SafeSport has yet to respond, the statement said.